A citizen of Moldova who was driving from Lithuania to Belarus claimed to be unaware about the restrictions on cars with Russian number plates introduced in the EU. It transpired that the car belongs to a citizen of Russia but the Moldovan man was driving the car alone.

The driver of Audi Q7 was cited for an administrative offence. The car valued EUR 41,690 has been impounded. The vehicle will likely be confiscated and transferred for the needs of Ukraine.

As of 11 March, drivers of cars with number plates of the Russian Federation will be fined and the cars may be confiscated due to violation of international sanctions or national restrictive measures (Article 515 of the Code of Administrative Offences).

Following restrictions introduced by the Council of the European Union, as of 11 September 2023 Lithuania has not allowed entry to cars with Russian number plates. Russian cars already in Lithuania had either to leave the country or be registered in Lithuania by 11 March 2024.

An exemption applies to Russian citizens travelling to or from the Kaliningrad region in transit with a simplified transit document. However, such transit must not last longer than for 24 hours and the owner of the car must be travelling in the vehicle. If the owner is not in the vehicle, the car is not allowed to enter Lithuania.

This year, Lithuanian Customs have already transferred 11 vehicles as humanitarian aid to Ukraine. In 2023, 124 vehicles were transferred to Ukraine and 64 a year earlier.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabrielius Landsbergis says Lithuania is holding consultations with the European Commission on how the new regulations should be implemented. He says this is needed due to the transit to and from Russia’s Kaliningrad region.

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